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Britain's former envoy says Cyprus settlement inevitable
2004-11-03 10:50:42

by Kyriakos Tsioupras

London, Nov 3 (CNA) -- Britain's former special representative for the Cyprus problem, Lord David Hannay, believes that the solution of the Cyprus problem is inevitable and considers it impossible for Turkey to join the European Union without a Cyprus settlement.

Responding to questions yesterday afternoon at a session of oral evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, which is conducting an inquiry on Cyprus, Lord Hannay stated that “I do not believe Turkey can become a member of the European Union without a solution in Cyprus. The situation is and will remain fluid until the 17th of December (when the EU leaders will meet). After that it will be clear that a settlement is inevitable.”

Britain’s former Cyprus envoy made it clear that he did not speak on behalf of the British government but he answered the question by the chairman of the Committee, Donald Anderson, about what kind of advice could give now to the British government: “I would say stick to Cyprus, stick to the United Nations as the vehicle for a solution. Proceed with caution, do not rush.”

Lord Hannay called the rejection of the Annan plan by the Greek Cypriots as “a sad outcome, a huge opportunity which was missed.”

To a question about the reasons for the rejection of the plan by the Greek Cypriot community, Lord Hannay said that political leaders, including (former Cyprus President Glafcos) Clerides, failed to carry public opinion with them because they had promised so much, especially during election periods.

A second reason, according to Hannay, was the prevalent idea that any benefit to one side was considered a loss for the other and a third one was related to security concerns.

To a question about the Russian veto against a draft resolution put forward in the UN Security Council by Britain and the United States, Lord Hannay said that the question should be put to the Russians but he noted that Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou paid a visit to Moscow during that period.

Lord Hannay also listed as specific factors for the rejection of the Annan plan the presence of Turkish forces, security concerns, cost of the solution and the time scale for the inplementation of various provisions of the plan.

He said that preconditions for a solution would be the fixing of a date for starting accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union and convincing indication that the Greek Cypriot side can accept proposals for changes in the Annan plan which would not affect its basic structure.

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